16 June 12 • MAV

Well, summer is here. To say that I am thrilled would be an understatement. Summer, I’ve been waiting for you for a while now. Welcome!

The items in my summer essentials bag are pretty much the same as last year and I have added in these items as well (and gotten a larger bag!):

+ chapstick
+ light scarf
+ lamy fountain pen
+ small empty zipper pouch for treasures my nephew and I find
+ Crop No. 2 (the perfect summer layering item if I do say so myself)
+ set of Tombow markers + set of Stabilo pencils (I make a lot of art in the summer)

I’m planning to make my favorite cobbler, my summer pancakes and my fresh strawberry scones (I’m still perfecting this recipe but will share it when I get back!). And then there’s my new favorite: fruit smoothies. We’ll be sharing some of our recipes in the next issue of 3191 Quarterly. Stay tuned! I’ll be drinking Steph’s cold brew and my On-And-On cocktail making big batches of my pesto to serve with pasta and fish.

Oh and let’s not forget about salads! Everything here was from the farmers market (with the exception of avocados). I go to our market twice a week and eat, almost exclusively, the foods I can buy there. Summer’s bounty, yes yes yes!

I’ll be making at least one summer trip to New York (love the pace of the city in the heat) for cocktails and wanderings and I’ll be heading to the cottage in Cushing (see my photographs in Q5) for a few weeks.

I plan to swim, head out to the islands, drive up Chase’s as much as possible and wear a handkerchief on chillier evenings.

And I’ll be doing a lot of porch-sitting. S i g h … so good.

My Must-Have Must-Do  Must Feel LIST is very much the same. Summer is something special; it’s a feeling and a lifestyle that is unmatched. We are off to enjoy it. All of these photographs were from last summer (all represented on my summer blog with our More & Co. assistant Chloe) and when I get back I’ll share some photographs from this summer thus far.

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Please note: We are on holiday until July 6, 2012. Our shop is open during these weeks but we will be taking some time off from this space. See you back here in a few weeks with some fun surprises!

16 June 12 • SCB

We have just returned from our first (short) summer adventure at the coast, and it’s on. Summer is on.

Technically, the solstice isn’t until Thursday. I’ll be having my celebratory gin and tonic that night for sure.

All signs are pointing to summer. Strawberries are ripe for the picking. I’ll be making my dad his favorite strawberry shortcake for Father’s Day. Then, we’ll be awaiting the arrival of all the other berries and summer fruits. Crisps, popsicles and smoothies in mason jars will be made daily.

At home, I’ll be switching to cold brew, hanging my laundry on the line, serving salad for dinner, and maybe engaging in the occasional water balloon fight.

A batch of fire starters needs to be made. We have plans to head back to the beach, the mountains, and the beautiful Columbia River Gorge. Time to hang the hammock.

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Please note: We are on holiday until July 6, 2012. Our shop is open during these weeks but we will be taking some time off from this space. See you back here in a few weeks with some fun surprises!

9 June 12 • MAV

Stephanie has mentioned the book Good To The Grain in this space before. I am a huge fan as well. My copy has flour dusted onto most pages and eggs smeared so that some stick together. It’s well-worn and I do love it so. I don’t stock most of Kim’s recommended flours on your regular old day but I do always have spelt flour. I love the taste and in most recipes I swap in at least 1/2 cup spelt  for some of the all-purpose.

This Olive Oil Cake, on page 172 in the book, has become a staple in my kitchen. I swear to you that both kids and adults love it equally (there have been fights!) and that makes it a real winner. I’ve served it with fresh strawberries/raspberries and/or vanilla ice cream. Last 4th of July I served it with whipped cream. Lately I just put it out plain and watch it get devoured in a matter of moments. We rarely have a piece left and I love that part too (leftovers tend to become my breakfast the next day and starting with sugar/chocolate is not the best for this gal).

I make a few small adjustments to the original recipe—I don’t include the rosemary, I use more spelt than all-purpose, I use a touch less sugar and I increase the chocolate. It’s a fun recipe to play with. It also calls for very few ingredients so you’ll likely have most of what you need in your kitchen already. Oh and Kim calls for bittersweet chocolate chopped. While I love this idea, and have done it before, I find dark chocolate chips are easier. Either way I’d say go with a minimum of 60% cacao mass. The darker the chocolate the better because is mixes so well with the spelt and olive oil. Yumm!

Chocolate Chip Olive Oil Cake
adapted slightly from Good To The Grain by Kim Boyce

1-1/4 C spelt flour
1 C all-purpose flour
2/3 C natural sugar
1-1/2 t baking powder
3/4 t salt
3 eggs
3/4 C whole milk
1 C olive oil
7 ounces dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350ºF/180ºC. Rub a 9-inch fluted tart pan or round cake pan with olive oil. Sift dry ingredients in a large bowl, set aside. In separate bowl whisk eggs together thoroughly. Add in milk and olive oil and whisk again. Add wet ingredients to dry and gently mix until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips and turn the entire batter out into the baking pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm if you can!

9 June 12 • SCB

In just a few days, school is out and our schedules and commitments relax, the weather warms (we hope), and we will start heading out on all kinds of day-trips around Oregon. I am so excited for summer. This week I packed up our summer adventuring kit for the car. It all fits fairly well into a basket I just leave in the car, so when we head out we don’t have to fuss too much about what we bring along. I have been doing this since the kids were small (and the kit was twice the size, filled with diapers, toys and pajamas), and have found that having these essentials available means we can be more spontaneous and don’t find ourselves heading home early because someone is too wet, cold, or hungry. Here’s what I packed:

1. A good sized towel or cotton blanket. Ours is a vintage cotton heavy-weight tablecloth. It works equally well as a towel, picnic blanket or a throw to cover your legs on a chilly night.

2. A Baggu holds lightweight rain jackets (for sudden rain showers or cool evenings), spare bathing suits (for swimming hole discoveries or last-minute invitations to the pool), and a pair of cheap flip-flops for everyone.

3. More Baggus! For trips to the market, but also to hold wet or dirty clothes or to use as impromptu backpacks.

4. A kit with basic essentials like sunscreen, lip balm, hand sanitizer, band-aids, ibuprofen, hair ties, and a packet of tissues (aka emergency toilet paper).

5. An empty jar to fill with berries we find growing roadside, wildflowers or other treasures.

6. Emergency snacks. The key here is to have snacks that won’t spoil in the car or melt and also aren’t too tempting that my kids will eat them up on the next ten-minute ride across town. We’ve got almonds and dried fruit in there.

7. Filled water bottles.

8. Another pouch holds a folding knife (for slicing fruit or whittling), a bandana to use as a napkin or a tourniquet (just kidding—I hope), and a small amount of cash for parking meters, roadside fruit stands, garage sales, and ice cream (or in my case, iced coffee) emergencies.

Happy summer adventures, everyone.

3 June 12 • MAV

Sometimes in a quiet moment I like to open my digital photo archives and look back to exactly one year. It’s just a nice way for me to remind myself of how much time has passed and try to sit with it … try to not take it for granted. All the changes, decisions, loves, stresses, shifts (etc etc etc) that happen in one year are so so great, aren’t they? Time passes quickly and we tend not to pause. I thought I’d pause today on one year ago this week. Here goes …

One year ago this week I got a new nephew. Best week ever. Gussie, happy birthday! I love you so little muffin!

One year ago I painted my toes bright orange/red for the first time ever. I’ve been getting pedicures for the last several years and I always go pale light pink no matter what. I’ve done bright pink one other time before this orange/red, one year ago, and then I have been back on pale pink since. Should I go back to orange/red again? Why did I even go with this bright color? Hmm.

One year ago I bought my first peonies of the season at the farmers market. Peonies are my absolute favorite. I am wondering if I’ll be doing the exact same this coming week … I’ll let you know.

One year ago I made my very first rhubarb compote. I didn’t use a recipe, which was a mistake actually, so it turned out just okay. I have not cooked/baked with rhubarb since. What’s that all about?

One year ago I was sporting a very short haircut. Now I’m “growing it out” and it can fit into a ponytail. Who cares about haircuts one year later, really, but I do remember feeling very freed by lopping off my long locks in the early Spring. I wonder what sort of haircut I’ll have next year at this time? I wonder what is to come in the next 365 days?

3 June 12 • SCB

As I was straightening up at home this week, I realized how much of the work involved sorting items into various baskets. I have a basket for everything! There’s a basket of bike helmets on my porch, a basket of cleaning supplies under my sink, and little baskets of things when you open my drawers. I thought I’d share just a few of the ways I use baskets around my home.

(These are just the tip of the basket-iceberg in my house, really).

Wool throws at the ready.

Bedside reading.

Several in the kitchen.

Another in the living room for our Kapla blocks. Young and old like to play with these when they visit.

And a wee one holding chalk on the bulletin board. You can learn how to weave this little basket in Issue No. 7 of 3191Q! All my other baskets were found at estate and yard sales or at the secondhand shop.